By Dusty Ray
In the Whale dives to impressive depths with their brand new EP, Satan Be Gone! The ominous and foreboding mood of the songs lends the EP an eerie, nautical quality. It evokes the image of Jonah curled up inside of the whale, it echoes with the distant rumbles of fighting sea monsters.
A smart use of refrain, well-placed dissonance, and a cynical sense of humor turn this EP into a wholly strange listening experience. Rolling sea shanties, Irish folk ballads, heavy-handed rock, and avant-garde creepiness create a rich diversity. What is impressive is that In the Whale navigates these juxtapositions without making it feel contrived – they have a knack for writing original tunes while jumping out of the boundaries of genre.
“Altar Call” gets the ball rolling with an epic push. Heavy guitar and fuzzy organ provide the background for distorted megaphone vocals; one can almost see the procession of pious masses hearkening to its melody. “The Facebook Song” feels quite out of place and lacks the mature sincerity of the other songs, but its hilarious vocals describing the dark underbelly of social networking add a lighthearted twist to a very dark EP. The final track, “Animals,” is an undulating experiment in minimalism: It sounds like a Gregorian chant dancing over the cries of a broken xylophone.
Like much new experimental music, it’s tempting to label In the Whale as indie, but this doesn’t feel right in light of their diverse compositions. Satan Be Gone! will give you a musical exorcism; just be careful not to get any pea soup vomit on your iPod.